Written/Ranked by Daniel House
1. Seattle Seahawks vs. CLE
The Seahawks defense has been hitting stride over the last three weeks. In that span, they’ve corralled seven total takeaways. Not to mention, they’ve allowed a combined 13 points over the last two weeks of play. This week, Johnny Manziel will be signing Seattle dollar bills and that provides me with even more optimism. The Browns surrendered two giveaways last week and have accomplished that feat all but three times this year. Additionally, the Seahawks have forced the fifth-most fumbles this year. What’s more, Cleveland has been dropping the ball like Manziel dollar bills on Saturday night. No team has fumbled more than the Browns and it’s hard to imagine they won’t continue wobbling around when they enter the 12th Man.
2. Arizona Cardinals @ PHI
Only the Carolina Panthers have tallied more takeaways (33) than the Arizona Cardinals defense (25). They are averaging two turnovers per game in their last three matchups and haven’t allowed more than 20 points over that span. The Eagles have surrendered the fifth-most giveaways. Not to mention, they’ve committed at least one turnover in five consecutive contests. Chip Kelly is too worried about sliding into Shady McCoy’s DM’s to even care about this. Philadelphia’s offense has scored 23 points or less in three of their last four games and the Eagles don’t win unless they get help from their defense or special teams units.
3. Kansas City Chiefs @ BAL
Kansas City’s defense has quietly amassed the third-most takeaways this year. Over the last five games, they’ve added ten interceptions and three forced fumbles. What’s more, the Chiefs defense has allowed 20 points or more in just two of their last nine contests. It’s either the Jimmy Clausen or Ryan Mallett show in Baltimore and the Chiefs are buying tickets to the main event. The Ravens have provided the fifth-most giveaways (23) to opposing offenses. Not to mention, they’ve committed at least two turnovers per game in five consecutive matchups. With the uncertainty surrounding the Ravens offense, it’s hard not to see some success on the horizon for the Chiefs defense.
4. New England Patriots vs. TEN
The Patriots have forced at least one takeaway in every game but one this season. Just two teams have provided more giveaways (25) than the Titans offense. What’s more, Tennessee has notched multiple turnover performances in two of their last three games. New England ranks in the middle of the league in total takeaways. However, they’ve surrendered 26 points or less in five of their last seven contests. Not to mention, they played arguably their best defensive performance of the year last week. They are hitting their groove as they square off with a team that hands over turnovers faster than an elf hands out Christmas toys.
5. Carolina Panthers @ NYG
The Panthers defense has notched the most takeaways (33) this year. This includes 12 fumble recoveries and 21 total interceptions. More importantly, over the last five weeks, they’ve amassed an eye-popping 13 turnovers. Their ability to create turnovers has made them the best defense in the NFL. The Giants offense has committed five turnovers over the last three weeks – four of which are interceptions. Josh Norman will keep Odell Beckham from going off and the Panthers will force Eli Manning into mistakes. Additionally, the Panthers have tallied two or more takeaways in each of their last two contests against the G-Men.
6. Houston Texans @ IND
What is happening to the Colts? If you get a 51-point ass-kicking bestowed upon you by the Jags, it’s time to look in the mirror. Chuck Pagano is about ready to star in the Southwest Airlines’ “Wanna Get Away” commercial. With Andrew Luck still out and Matt Hasselbeck’s sore arm, things could get out of hand. Even with all of that said, the Colts have surrendered the most giveaways (27). This includes multiple turnover performances in three of the last four games. The Texans have accumulated just one takeaway in two games, but have multiple turnover performances in two of their last three contests against the Colts.
7. New York Jets @ DAL
The Jets defense has tallied the fourth-most takeaways (24) this season. Not to mention, they’ve added turnovers in four consecutive matchups. Matt Cassel is channeling his inner Chad Hutchinson and it’s been tough to watch. What’s more, the Cowboys have thrown six interceptions over the last four games, while surrendering the fifth-most giveaways this season. The New York defense has been consistent in nearly every phase and they’ll continue to succeed as the Cowboys deploy one of the bottom four passing attacks in the league.
8. Cincinnati Bengals @ SF
The Bengals are averaging at least two takeaways per game over the last four contests. Not to mention, they’ve accumulated the fourth-most total takeaways this season. This includes the fourth-most total interceptions (17). Shockingly, the 49ers have committed the second-fewest turnovers this year. However, they’ve failed to score over 20 points in six of their last seven contests. The Bengals defense needs to shoulder the load with Andy Dalton out, but have no fear, the next Tom Brady is here.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. DEN
Pittsburgh’s defense has tallied the third-most takeaways and have six total over the last two weeks. Additionally, they’ve allowed 20 or fewer points in three of their last four contests. Nationwide is on Peyton’s side as he returned to practice this week, but it’s going to be at least one more week of Brock Osweiler eating chicken parmesan. He’s thrown interceptions in two of his last three outings and the Steelers have accumulated the fifth-most total picks. What’s more, Denver has committed the fifth-most turnovers and the Steelers defense is an opportunistic bunch.
10. Tampa Bay Bucs @ STL
The Bucs have caused just one turnover in three games, but the St. Louis offense is about as dysfunctional as the Griswold’s in “Christmas Vacation.” The Rams have committed the sixth-most giveaways and they’ve failed to crack over 21 points in seven consecutive contests. What’s more, there is only three games where the Rams haven’t surrendered at least one turnover. St. Louis has thrown five interceptions in their last three games and Tampa Bay has accumulated the seventh-most picks of any defense. What’s more, the Rams have the worst offensive efficiency rating (-22%) in the league.
11. Denver Broncos @ PIT
The Denver defense has been extremely inconsistent this year and it’s led to a tidal wave of fantasy production. Just when you think they have things figured out, they don’t get a takeaway. Nonetheless, they have still accumulated at least one turnover in three of the last four games. In addition, they’ve notched the fourth-most total takeaways. The Steelers offense has committed five turnovers over their last three games. What’s more, Pittsburgh has thrown the third-most interceptions and take plenty of chances on offense.
12. Buffalo Bills @ WSH
You know you’ve reached the home stretch of the season with Rex pulls out the ugly Christmas sweater at his presser. However, it might not be as ugly as their loss to the Eagles last week. However, Buffalo’s defense still has notched at least one takeaway in seven of their last eight games. They allow a drastically high amount of points, but Washington’s offense is far from potent. More importantly, the Redskins have committed the fifth-most turnovers this year.
13. Minnesota Vikings vs. CHI
The Vikings defense is beat up and it’s really had an impact on their ability to perform at a high level. They still held Arizona to 20 points, but were demoralized by Seattle the week before. The good news is the Bears offense hasn’t been anything special either. The Chicago offense hasn’t cracked over 21 points in four consecutive contests. More importantly, the Vikings have notched four turnovers over the last three games and will likely have Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr back this week.
14. Green Bay Packers @ OAK
The Raiders are firing on all cylinders and have quite a bit to play for against Green Bay. They need to win and get help to sneak their way to the playoffs. However, it won’t be easy as the Packers defense has held opponents to under 23 points per game in five consecutive contests. Not to mention, they’ve added at least one takeaway in every game but one. Finally, Oakland has committed two or more turnovers in two their last three contests.
15. Miami Dolphins @ SD
The Dolphins are about as bad as the guys at Coors who decided to produce a natural spring water line. It had so much promise by many, but it was a massive flop. Nonetheless, Miami has created turnovers in four of their last five contests. The Dolphins defense lacks consistency, but San Diego’s offense has been flat-out abysmal. What’s more, the Chargers have tallied a giveaway in three of the last four games. Both of these teams are bad, but one team is just a little worse and can create more plays on defense.